The thin veil on emotions that one experiences while pregnant is a divine gift. I have experienced this pregnancy as a time of great shedding; shedding old fears (what if, what if, what if), shedding old limiting beliefs (I can’t possibly mother three, my children can’t handle sharing me, etc.) shedding external things like clutter and activities that do not serve me…..
So it does not surprise me that this thin veil also calls me to shed the defenses that keep us from authentically expressing our feelings. I have had many days where what in the past would have come out as anger about something, is instead expressed in tears…as my heart feels softer and more vulnerable.
This morning, before my children woke up, I saw a picture flash by on our screen saver of a 20 month old Lucas holding newborn Maya. Instantly, I flashed to those hard days of balancing my first baby’s needs with a newborn and the often ungraceful ways that I muddled through it and failed my son. I know enough to not ‘rake myself through the coals’ and instead have compassion for my learning curve as a mother (what I preach, preach, preach to mamas).
And yet the existential mother-grief of knowing the sweetness of my child’s soul and how his little heart was hurt, simply broke my heart. There was no protecting against, or denying this feeling. Full open-hearted grief poured forth as I sat on my couch and let myself cry, cry, cry, with acceptance of what was, with compassion for the new mother that did her best, and yet still, existential grief that has been there for a long time. And which has been the source of an undercurrent of fear about this third baby. Would I let my children down again? Would I feel so lost and overwhelmed again?
Lucas and Maya woke up and came out to the living room to snuggle, finding their mama freshly raw with tear-stained eyes. I told them as plainly as I could about my sad feelings and said what I often say, “Those times when mama was grumpy were because I was learning about being a mama… I needed to take care of myself…it was not because of you.”
I thought about what a gift it is to let our children see the vulnerability of our journey, in an authentic way (not giving them responsibility, and not self or other blaming)… honestly naming our hard feelings, shortcomings, and taking responsibility for them. I thought about how, although I cannot undo the past, it is honoring to validate what was surely their experience. A simple act that often frees children to spontaneously heal and release whatever hurt they have experienced.
In that moment, with tears still wet on my puffy face and Lucas and Maya snuggled under each arm with love and forgiveness, I felt the immense grace of mothering. As awesome and delicate as a butterfly’s wing is this gift of journeying with other souls, sharing the fragile ups and downs of human experience. The tenderness of my heart and the moment, opened me wide with gratitude and I felt immense peace, relief, and clear presence within and with my children. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I whispered to the Divine, for this gift of mothering, this experience of unconditional love, of willingness to move through hard times together…may we always open to our vulnerability together.
As little babe in belly kicked, I thanked my baby and my thin emotional veil of pregnancy…
Underneath our hard feelings of anger, blame, disconnection, and numbness, is often great sadness, or vulnerability that offers us information. It is the tender voice of our soul that lets us know what we may be doing or thinking that is causing us pain. Or it may be the tender existential space of heartbreak, loneliness, grief that needs to be expressed and held.
We do so much to protect against this vulnerability in daily life. And sometimes we simply move too fast to feel our real feelings. Yet, our authentic feelings are the voice of our heart and soul. When we simply slow down to lovingly explore and experience these feelings, they can take us to a place of deep connection and aliveness that we may not often find otherwise.
And as always, the more we model gentle and loving presence with our own souls, the more our children learn to listen to and honor the delicate voice of their own hearts.